Sitting at Starbucks café in El Segundo, I am interviewing a rather exceptional candidate running for California's governor. Why exceptional? Let me explain. It has been almost 25 years since large numbers of Persians have immigrated to California. They form a significant portion of the population, many of them are leaders in business and industry. But now, for the first time in US election history, Badi Badiozamani is one of two Persian-Americans seeking to become governor of the most populous and prosperous state in the country.
For Badiozamani being a “first timer” has been almost a part of his life. He enjoys an analytical yet creative mind that lets him grasp the opportunities coming his way to help mankind. When he graduated from university before the revolution in Iran, he volunteered to the work in desolate regions to help people improve their life conditions. It has always been his doctrine to protect his cultural identity and contribute to society regardless of the geographical boundaries.
Currently Badiozamani is the director of the East-West Understanding Center. He believes all people regardless of race, sex and cultural differences share the same aspirations. He is not new to politics. He has served on the California Governor's Joint Venture Advisory Board and presently serves on San Diego's Small Business Advisory Board. And with a Master's in Public Administration and a PhD in Political Science, together with 22 years of living in the California, he has pinpointed a number of fundamental problems in the Golden State.
Badiozamani shared with me some of his plans for California.
1- Sincne he is running as an independent, he can act as a catalyst between Republicans and Democrats. This way he can be a consensus builder to bring them together and bring more transparency to outsiders like you and me!
2- If he becomes governor, he will cut his salary by half. Change starts form self.
3- Being on the business advisory board, he has seen how California's credit rating has dropped. To get over this problem, the state budget should address practical purposes. For instance, the $200,000 set aside for an AIDS memorial should instead go to research on how to deal with AIDS.
4- Reduce tuition fees especially at state-run universities. It is hypocritical to encourage people to get a better education while making it impossible for them to afford it.
5- A great portion of the state budget goes to retention centers. Badiozamani plans to bring private business to prisons. In this plan, a prisoner is paid the minimum wage so that he does not feel like a slave. Out of each dollar received by the prisoner, 20% goes to the victim family, 20% to the prisoner family, 20% for prisoner savings so that when he gets out of jail he has some savings, 20% for daily expenses and 20% for room and board. This way the prison budget burden is relieved to some degree and when released, fromer prisoners can start a new life with the help of their savings.
6- Badiozamani has identified experts who can reduce traffic at rush hours without building new freeways. Hardline environmentalists forget that emissions during traffic jams can be a more serious threat to the environment!
7- California has a large number of immigrants who can influence federal decisions. Those who cross the boarder to work illegally and support their families should be treated by employers like any other worker. Issuing temporary seasonal visas will allow alien workers to work, enjoy the rights of a legal citizen, pay taxes and the go back to their families at the termination of their visa period.
At the end of our coversation I have a clear picture of who Badiozamani is and what his plans are for California. If you would like to contact him for more details or just to show your support, here is the contact information: